Knotts-Owens Barn, Corvallis
- Built: 1870
- Address: 3525 NW Highway 99
- Designation: Benton County Landmark
News and Updates
Assessment and as-built drawings completed for barn rehabilitation planning
Restore Oregon awards $2500 grant for barn assessment
50 people turn out for first annual Heritage Barn Workshop
HPLO Heritage Barn Taskforce planning September educational workshop at barn
The Knotts-Owens Barn is one of a handful of hand-hewn barns standing in Benton County today. This rare farmstead complex is regionally significant because it shows the evolution of a family farm from the settlement era through the 20th century.
The storyline of the Knotts-Owens farmstead begins in 1849 when Iowa natives William and Sylvia Knotts received a 640-acre donation land claim three miles north of present-day downtown Corvallis. The farmstead has stayed in the same family and the existing collection of buildings date to the 1870s, providing an excellent example of subsistence farming around the Mid-Willamette Valley. The complex consists of a farmhouse, machine shed, pump house, brooder house, and the barn.
Why it’s Endangered
In 2002, the City of Corvallis, the Greenbelt Land Trust, and Samaritan Health Services partnered to acquire the remaining 312-acre Knotts-Owens farm in order to provide Corvallis residents with educational programs and activities focused on the history and culture of the farm, the community, and the valley. The sale agreement provided a life-time tenancy for Tom Owen, the last Knotts descendant. Tom left the property in December 2012, allowing the City of Corvallis to take full control of the buildings at the end of this year.
After decades of deferred maintenance, the condition of the Knotts-Owens Barn was compromised even further when in 2010 a hefty oak tree fell on it. Today the tree has been removed and some minor stabilization has taken place. However, the structure is deteriorating rapidly and will soon collapse without intervention. The loss of the barn would jeopardize the interpretative and educational potential of the entire site.
Our Near-term Goals
A Historic Structures Report is needed to evaluate and outline the best strategy for the barn’s stabilization and eventual rehabilitation. Listing in the National Register of Historic Places, coupled with development of a funding plan, will allow the City of Corvallis to begin assembling the financial resources needed to make the barn and larger farmstead complex a community asset.